Published: Fri, May 10, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Chelsea Manning released from jail on contempt charge

Chelsea Manning released from jail on contempt charge

Chelsea Manning was released today from the Virginia jail where she spent 62 days for refusing to testify about her past association with WikiLeaks before a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia.

"Today marked the expiration of the term of the grand jury, and so, after 62 days of confinement, Chelsea was released from the Alexandria Detention Center earlier today", her lawyers said in a statement quoted by the BBC.

Manning shared hundreds of thousands of classified government documents with WikiLeaks in 2010, while serving as an Army intelligence analyst in Iraq.

Her plea to be let out of the Virginia jail drew support from New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who said Manning had been "trapped in solitary confinement" and called the sentence "torture".

Last month, U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton ruled Manning should stay in jail until she either testifies or a grand jury no longer wants to hear from her. A U.S. appeals court denied her request to be released on bail and upheld the lower court's decision to hold her in civil contempt for refusing to testify.

"Chelsea will continue to refuse to answer questions, and will use every available legal defence to prove. that she has just cause for her refusal to give testimony".

"Chelsea will continue to refuse to answer questions". She's seen here speaking outside a US federal courthouse in Virginia, shortly before a judge held her in contempt of court.

Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013 for leaking classified USA government documents to WikiLeaks.

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- Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea) May 10, 2019 Indeed, she's already been subpoenaed to appear in court May 16th.

Federal law only allows a recalcitrant witness to be jailed on civil contempt if there is a chance that the incarceration will coerce the witness into testifying.

Immunity is forced upon grand jury witnesses, negating their privilege against self-incrimination, and stripping them of any "right to remain silent".

She also said she was suffering disproportionately in jail because of physical problems related with inadequate follow-up care to gender-reassignment surgery.

Julian Assange, the anti-secrecy site's founder, was himself arrested on April 11 after living for almost seven years under asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The United States is seeking his extradition to face charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. Within hours, the USA unsealed an indictment against him.

"I do not wish to surrender myself for doing journalism that has won many, many awards and protected many, many people", he told a British court. A London court found him guilty of jumping bail in 2012 and sentenced him this month to 50 weeks in prison.

WikiLeaks published a classified USA military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.

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